General Zaroff Essay

Essay about The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell

633 Words3 Pages

Hunting big game animals for sport was a popular pastime with the wealthy classes following World War I. The morality of killing for sport was not questioned in reality, but in this short story the author does question it by taking it a step further and having the protagonist, Sangor Rainsford, hunted by the antagonist, General Zaroff.In a short story full of irony, one of the greatest ironies of Richard Connell’s “The Most Dangerous Game” is that General Zaroff repeatedly tells Rainsford that he maintains a sense of civilization on his island. General Zaroff believes that he is a civilized aristocrat. While eating an elegant dinner, Zaroff mentions the food and drink. “Half apologetically General Zaroff said: ‘We do our best to preserve…show more content…

We try to be civilized here’”(Connell 75).He considers electricity a sign of civilization even though he uses it to lure ships to the rocks so he may capture the sailors. His idea of civilization may not match a more normal person’s ideas. When Rainsford objects, Zaroff protests.“ ‘[…]That would be barbarous. I treat these visitors with every consideration. They get plenty of good food and exercise[…]splendid physical condition’” (Connell 76).Zaroff uses a euphemism to describe his prisoners and claims that treating them well is a mark of a civilized man. He treats them well so that they will be healthy, well trained, and more challenging to hunt. Zaroff claims to be civilized, but the reality is quite different from Zaroff’s assertions. The harsh truth of island life reveals that Zaroff’s idea of civilization includes personal pleasure derived from murder .Zaroff explains his “game.” Zaroff has become bored with hunting because the animals do not provide a challenge for him, so hunts the only animal that can think and reason—man (Connell 74).He believes that he deserves the challenge, so it is morally right to hunt men. This is not civilized behavior. It is murder. He tries explains why it is right. “‘If I wish to hunt, why should I not? I hunt the scum of the earth—[…]’”(Connell 75).Zaroff believes that his social status and wealth give him the right to kill those in lower classes. This

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General Zaroff, one of the main characters in The Most Dangerous Game, was introduced to readers towards the middle of the book and is the antagonist throughout this short story. General Zaroff displays a love for hunting, an unstable and unremorseful mind, and also displays arrogance and cockiness. These three character traits are supported by his actions and words throughout the short story. General Zaroff displays a very passionate love for hunting, which allowed Rainsford and Zaroff to relate to each other fast right when they met each other. When General Zaroff land Rainsford sit down to talk and have a meal General Zaroff says, “Be a realist. The world is made up of two classes–the hunters and the huntees. Luckily, you and I are hunters.”(pg.21) This quote shows that general Zaroff doesn’t view hunting as just a sport, but as a direct correlation to life. This quote shows that General Zaroff has a passion and love for hunting animals of all sorts.

Also, during General Zaroffs conversation with Raisnford he states, “I killed my first bear in the Caucasus when I was ten.”(pg.23) This quote shows that the generals love for hunting sprouted when he was just a young boy, and has been passion ever since. General Zaroff constantly shows throughout, whether it is in what he says, or the actions he portrays, that he has a very unstable mind and is somewhat of a psycho. For example, towards the end of the lengthy conversation between General Zaroff and Rainsford, General Zaroff says, “I hunt the scum of the earth- sailors from tramp ships, lascars, blacks, chinese, and mongrels.” (pg. 26)

This quote shows that General Zaroff thinks of murder as a game and has no remorse in killing humans of any type. This quote also reveals that “hunting” and killing humans is a hobby for General Zaroff and is taken very lightly by him. Also, during their conversation General Zaroff stated, “This is why I use them. It gives me pleasure. They can reason, after a fashion.” (pg.26) When reading this quote it should bring chills to you because of the way general Zaroff talks about other humans. He refers to them along the lines of animals that he is hunting, therefore taking the lives of humans doesn’t bother him what so ever. He also says at the end of the quote that killing humans brings pleasure to him, which breaks almost every morale code of society.

Genral Zoroff shows throughout the book that he is very arrogant and cocky, whether it is through his actions or through his words. During the conversation between the General and Rainsford, General Rainsford states, “I have hunted every kind of game in every land. It would be impossible for me to tell you how many animals I have killed.” (pg. 23) Analyzing this quote you can see that general Zaroff has been all over the world and has hunted every type of animal, but the way he comes across is very arrogant and cocky. A little later on in the same conversation General Zaroff says, “Life is for the strong, to be lived by the strong, and if need be, taken by the strong. The weak of the world were put here to give the strong pleasure. I am strong. (pg. 26) The arrogance in this quote is overwhelming and is a prime example of showing just how cocky General Zaroff is.

It also shows that he sees himself higher up than most people and is better and stronger than everyone else in every way. Throughout the short story, The Most Dangerous Game, General Zaroff portrays the part of a psychotic killer who loves to hunt and has lots of arrogance not only when he speaks but through his actions as well. General Zaroff thinks he is the best hunter to ever walk on the earth, but is proven no match for Rainsford who beats Zaroff at his own game. Even though the book doesn’t exactly tell the ending it hints to the fact that Raisnford killed the psychotic General Zaroff.

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